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J. Coliord, Printer. 




It is of no use to puzzle young people 
with hard names of half a dozen syllables, 
£he meaning of which they cannot make 
out ; it is better to use words which they 
can all understand ; therefore the title of 
this little book shall be Yes ! and No ! 

Yes and no are very little words, but 
though small in size they are great in 
importance ; for on the use and abuse of 
them depends much of our hope and our 

2 YES ! AND NO ! 

fear, our joy and our sorrow. These two 
words are in constant use ; but as some 
confusion might arise from speaking of 
them both at once, let us be content with 
one of them ; let us see what can be said 
of Che word yes. 

You may think it an odd subject to 
speak upon, but never mind that ; for 
many an odd thing is made useful, and 
there is no reason, that I know of, why 
we should not make a good use of the 
word yes. 

Some say yes when they mean no, and 
others say no when they mean yes, and 
no doubt you may remember instances of 
this kind with regard to yourself. When 
I was a boy, and the question was asked 
me if I liked school, I used to say yes ; 
but though my tongue said yes, my heart 
said no. Once, when on a visit, I was 
asked by a gentleman if I would eat a 
mince pie. Now being uncommonly fond 
of mince pie, the prospect of having one 
much pleased me, yet I answered, " No, 
thank you, sir," foolishly expecting that 
he would ask me again ; this, however, 
he never did, and thus was I deservedly 
punished for my insincerity. Now, in 
these two instances, I acted, to say the 

YES ! AND NO ! 3 

least of it, a very silly part ; and my rea- 
son for acknowledging it to you is, that 
you may be persuaded to act more wisely. 
A straightforward, open-hearted, and 
sincere answer is better than all the 
silly, shuffling, insincere replies in the 
world . 

But, perhaps, if I w r ere to tell you 
twenty other instances wherein I acted a 
silly part with regard to the word yes, 
you might not apply one of them to your- 
self. Nay, for aught I know to the con- 
trary, you might conclude that because 
you had not committed the very same 
faults, you were free from the errors which 
I had pointed out to you. I will, there- 
fore, soon leave off talking about myself, 
that I may, for a few minutes, talk about 
you, and especially about the manner in 
which you ought to use the word yes. 

It matters but little wdiether you are a 
boy or a girl ; for boys and girls have 
hearts in their bosoms made of the very 
same materials, and liable to the same 

There's not a pulse that throbs, that does not still 

Obey at times some base, unbridled will ; 

And not a beating bosom but requires 

A heavenly hand to quench its lawless fires. 


. He who has been a child knows pretty 
well whal enters into a child's heart; and 
therefore, you must not be surprised if I 
should happen to know what is in yours. 
You know, too, that he who stands on 
the top of a mom a can see further 

than he who Walks about in the valley 
below. As I am older than yon are, and 
have seen more than you have seen, so I 
may be likened to one on the top of a 
mountain, and may then describe to you 
a few things of which you are at present 

In every bosom there is a strong prin- 

YES ! AND NO ! *> 

ciple of selfishness, which continually 
prompts us to follow out our own plea- 
sures and desires, without earing much 
whether or not they dishonor God, or 
trespass on those around us ; and unless 
this principle is restrained by divine 
grace, we are continually dissatisfied, 
running after glittering hubbies, which, 
the moment we touch them, burst and 
disappear. If I ask you whether you 
feel this principle in your heart, I think 
you will be compelled to reply yes. You 
may love your parents, your relations, 
and your teachers ; but do you not love 
yourself better '? You know you do, and 
therefore must answer yes. You obev 
those who have the care of you, or who 
are placed in authority over you, but 
would not you, if you could, rather obey 
your own heart ? If you speak truly, you 
w r ill again say yes. Now, my object is to 
point out to you, that whatever this selfish 
principle may say, whatever your heart 
may say, and whatever may be said by 
the whole world, it is to your real intere 
and happiness never to say yes to what 
God forbids, and always to say yes to 
what he commands. 

Te are told to love our parents, o\ 


neighbors, our friends, and our enemies, 
and especially to love God. 

Whene'er we think upon the skies, 

Or read God's holy word, 
This question in our hearts should rise, 

" Say, lovest thou the Lord?" 

And O more happy shalt thou be 

Than language can express, 
If, when the question's put to thee, 

Thy heart shall answer yes ! 

Now, do not be angry if I question you 
rather closely. Were you ever tempted 
to deceive your parents by hiding your 
faults from them ? by behaving better be- 
fore them than when they were absent ? 
by telling them that which was not true? 
or by rebelling against their authority ? 
If you have done any of these things, did 
you thereby make yourself more happy ? 
You will not answer yes. Did you ever 
take what belonged to another, acting the 
part of a thief? -If you have on any oc- 
casion been so wicked, did the thing stolen 
add to your happiness? You must not 
answer yes. Did you ever utter bad lan- 
guage, bear false witness against your 
playmates, backbite and slander those 
who had offended you ? If so, did you get 
any addition to your peace ? You cannot 

YES ! AND NO ! 7 

answer yes. Did you ever give way to ha- 
tred, anger, malice, and revenge, against 
those whom you considered to be your 
enemies 1 and did it add to your joy ? 
You would be ashamed to answer yes. 
Did you ever break the sabbath, mock at 
holy things, or make game of those who 
profess to be followers of our Lord and 
Saviour Jesus Christ? If these things 
were ever committed, did they lighten 
your heart, or render you more satisfied 
with yourself? You dare not answer yes. 
In all these instances you well know that 
you have been your own enemy, and that 
instead of gaining an advantage, you have 
sunk in your own estimation. 

Though sin in its course may a season succeed, 
The heart that does evil must sorrow and bleed. 

But can you recall to mind any one in- 
stance during the whole course of your 
life, wherein you have done good or re- 
sisted evil, wherein you have humbly 
obeyed God's holy will, lovingly assisted 
your young friends, or forgiven your 
enemies, without feeling a peace greater 
than you before enjoyed 1 I do not think 
that you are bold enough to answer yes. 

The thing then appears plain, that by 

i yes! and no! 

always saying yes when God asks you to 
obey him, and by never saying yes when 
your heart requires you to disobey him, 
vou will secure much iov and avoid much 

More than one half the misery of the 
world is brought about by our saying yes, 
either with our tongues, our hearts, or 
our actions, to evil temptations. And 
more than one half of our mercies are 
enjoyed by our being divinely enabled to 
say y^s to all the merciful injunctions and 
invitations of our heavenly Father. 

What would you say to a silly com- 
panion who in plain language should speak 
thus to you : " Come along with me, and 
let us get some of those bright red berries 
growing on yonder bushes. It is true we 
may tear our clothes, scratch our fingers 
and faces with thorns, and tumble into the 
bed of nettles at the bottom of the ditch ; 
and, after all, most likely the berries will 
make us very sick, for they are poison ; 
yet never mind, come with me, and let us 
do as I have said." Why you would tell 
him at once that you would not go ; you 
would not say yes to his invitation. Now 
all who invite you to do wrong, ask you to 
act the same foolish part, though they may 


only speak of the shining berries, and say 
not one word about the thorns, the nettles, 
and the poison. Treat them, then, in the 
same manner as you would treat your silly 
companion: be not so silly as to say yes. 
You may, perhaps, think me very anx- 
ious about this matter, but I cannot help 
being so ; therefore I say again, if even 
those whom you believe to be the best 
friends that you have in the world, re- 
quire you to do what you believe to be 
evil, they are asking you to be miserable : 
turn away, therefore, from their invitation . 
But if they require you to do that which 

10 YES! AND NO! 

you know to be good, they are asking you 
to be happy, and with all your heart,°your 
soul, and your strength, you may safely 
answer yes. 

And now, having said so much about 
the word yes, let us for a few minutes 
consider the word no. 

There are many young people who 

would hardly believe me if I were to tell 

them that it is a hard matter to say no ; 

and yet for all that, it is one of the most 

difficult things in the world. Hundreds 

and thousands who are now unhappy, who 

are enduring the miseries of want, pain, 

disgrace, and the stings of an accusing 

conscience, might have possessed a bright 

eye and a light heart— might have gone 

rejoicing through the world, instead of 

being bowed down with calamity, if in 

their youth they had learned to say no. 

It is a most important lesson, and well 

will it repay the trouble of attaining it. 

In peace through the pathways of life would you go, 
Hold the reins of your passions, and learn to say no. 

I grant you that in some cases it is an 
easy thing to say no. If you require many 
young people to do that which is dis- 
agreeable, or to give up something which 

YES ! AND NO ! 11 

gives them pleasure ; if you ask them to 
share their plum-cake with their compa- 
nions, to bear patiently the rebuke of their 
teachers, or to forgive a playmate who has 
offended them, the word no will pop out 
of their mouths as suddenly and as sharp 
as a paper wad out of a pop-gun. In 
these cases there is no difficulty ; but it 
is not to such cases as these that I allude, 
when I say that it is one of the hardest 
things in the w r orld to say no. I will give 
you a few examples. 

Joe Turner was a lively and good-tem- 
pered lad, but with all his liveliness and 
good temper he had not learned to say no, 
a neglect which he will have cause to 
regret to his dying day. A gentleman's 
servant, who lived in the neighborhood, 
was in the habit of airing his masters 
horses by galloping them a mile or two 
along the common every morning. One 
day when he was riding ahorse, and hold- 
ing another by the halter, he met Joe, 
and asked him if he would have a ride. 
Joe was not accustomed to horses ; it 
therefore was a very foolish thing for 
him to get on the back of a mettlesome, 
high-bred hunter ; but as he could not 
sav no, he mounted the horse, and away 

12 YES ! AND NO ! 

he went, starting off directly on a gallop, 
not being able to keep his horse in. 
Three minutes had not passed before Joe 
was thrown ; his leg was broken in two 
places, and well it was for him that his 
neck was not broken too. Ever since 
then Joe has been obliged to walk with a 
stick, and he has no other prospect than 
that of limping to his grave. 

Harry Parker was a playmate of Joe 
Turner's, but he could no more say no 
than Turner could, and this circumstance 
caused his ruin. On the whole, lie was a 
decent lad, having many good points 
about him, and every one said when he 
was put apprentice to Mr. Roberts, the 
first grocer of a neighboring town, that 
he was on. the high road to make his 
fortune. Harry soon got acquainted with 
some wild and extravagant young- fellows, 
who persuaded him to do as they did. If 
Harry could have flatly said no when they 
asked him to act wickedly, he would have 
been safe, but this he could not do. He 
robbed his master's till to enable him to 
imitate his companions, and was sent to 
prison, losing his liberty and his character 
at the same time. 

John Locket was the first scholar in 

YES ! AND NO ! 1 

the Sunday school, and so far as book 
knowledge went, he knew more than 
most of his companions ; but, though he 
learned much that bade fair to be a bless- 
ing to him, he never could learn to say no 
in a season of temptation. This tailing 
first made him a sabbath breaker, after- 
ward a re and a bond, and, lastly, 
occasioned his transportation to Botany 
Bay; thus, for the want of fining to 
say no, Joe Tu r lost the proper use 
of his limbs, and Harry Parker and John 
Locket lost their frien thei iaraet< 
and their liberty. 

it is indeed i trd thing to say no 
when all around are tting you to say 
yes! and yet until you can do this, you 
cannot act with proper firmness, nor are 
you in a fit state to be trusted by others. 
If I had twenty so; md twenty daugh- 
tors, though it would be a pleasant thing 
to have them all well educated, one of the 
very first lessons that I should wish them 
to learn would be to say no. 

Did you ever see a purple-faced, bloated 
drunkard, staggering through the streets, 
dirty, ragged, and miserable ; a disgrace 
to himself, and the jest of the thought- 
less lads who were assembled around to 

14 YES ! AND NO ! 

laugh at him'? What was it, think you, that 
made him so loathsome a being? It was 
all brought about by his not being able 
to say no. If he had resisted the tempt- 
ation of the glass ; if, when enticed by 
iiis intemperate comrades, he could re- 
solutely have said no, he would never have 
become a drunkard. 

])id you ever see a thief dragged off 
to a prison? or a murderer led to the 
gallows'? If so, I ask you again, whether 
you can guess what it was that occasioned 
his ruin? If you cannot, I will tell you. 
It was by his neglecting in the days of 
his youth to learn to say no. Had he 
stoutly and resolutely, looking to God 
for grace, resisted evil, had he with a firm 
voice and a determined heart said no to 
the temptations of his youth, he had never 
been led captive, the willing slave of sin, in 
the gall of bitterness and bonds of iniquity. 

Do you not think, then, if these things 
are true, that it is worth- while to learn 
to say no ? Most assuredly it is, and never 
ought you to be satisfied till the lesson 
has been thoroughly learned. 

When a mouse, tempted by the smell 
of a bit of cheese, is caught in a trap ; 
when a fish seizes the worm fastened on a 

YES ! AND NO ! 15 

fish-hook ; when a bird, lured by a few 
crumbs of bread, alights on a twig covered 
over with bird-lime on purpose to catch 
him ; when these creatures thus run into 
trouble, and deprive themselves of their 
lives or their liberty, they do it in igno- 
rance. There is no one to tell the poor 
bird that if he sets his foot on the twig 
he will be caught ; to inform the poor fish 
that a hook is beneath the worm that will 
be fixed in his jaws ; or to make known 
to the poor mouse that the moment he 
puts his head into the trap to touch the 
cheese, he will be strangled to death : but 
with you it is different ; you are told be- 
forehand that ever v evil deed will be sure 
to be followed with its punishment ; there- 
fore you have no excuse. 

When lightning's flash along the sky 
Be sure the thunder-clap is nigh : 
Be certain too, each sinful deed 
Will make the guilty bosom bleed. 

On too many instances in my past life 
can I look back with bitter regret wherein 
I did not say no; firmly, resolutely, un- 
alterably no ; for then should I have spared 
myself many a useless sigh and unavailing 
tear. If you wish well to all around you, 
and would willingly keep trouble from 

if) YES ! AND NO • 

your own heart, again I say 5 do learn to 
say no. . Do not hesitate, or consider, or 
say no faintly, but if you feel that there 
would be sin in your not saying no, say 
it at once ; say it boldly, and say it un- 
shrinkingly. Sometimes temptations ap- 
pear in a more harmless form than at 
others ; but a wolf in sheep's clothing 
is a wolf still, and perhaps the more 
dangerous on account of his dismiise ; 
therefore, if your dearest friend, or your 
worst enemy, asks you to do what you be- 
lieve to be wrong, say no in a manner that 
will convince him that you mean what you 
say. Do this in your youth, your manhood, 
and your age, and you will never repent it. 
The lesson is hard, because our hearts are 
sinful. Pray for the pardon of your sins 
for Christ's sake: he died to save the 
lost, and those wdio believe on him shall 
be saved, and made strong by his strength. 
Seek the influences of God the Holy 
Spirit to cleanse and guide your heart. 

He who has learned to say no in seasons 
of temptation, cannot be ignorant ; he who 
has not learned it, cannot be wise. 


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